US Premium Processing Fee Increase & Expansion to New Visas

The cost of filing L, H and other US applications using the premium processing service has increased under a so-called ‘stopgap spending measure’.

USCIS has increased the premium processing fee from $1440 to $2500 with effect from October 19, 2020.

The new fee applies to applications currently eligible for premium processing, including certain nonimmigrant worker petitions, including H, L, O, P and R visas, and certain immigrant worker petitions such as EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3.

The new fee will apply to applications postmarked on October 19 or after.

With premium processing, applicants can expect a wait time of up to 15 days.

In a related development, the Senate has passed a Bill permitting USCIS to open up the premium service to other employment-based immigrant applications and petitions. This is to include employment authorization applications for L1 visa, E2 visa, H1B visa holders, and applications to change or extend status for the dependents of H-1B, L-1 and other nonimmigrant visa categories.

This is welcome news for employers and visa holders, since employment authorization processing can currently take up to six months, during which time the visa holder is not permitted to work.

No timeline has been given for the expanded list.

Once expanded, premium processing fees and timelines will be:

  • Most Form I-140 EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 petitions: 15 calendar days (current) – $2,500
  • Form I-140 EB-1 Multinational Manager: 45 days – not more than $2500
  • Form I-140 EB-2 National Interest Waiver: 45 days – not more than $2500
  • Form I-140 EB-2 Physician: 45 days – not more than $2500
  • Form I-129 Nonimmigrant Worker Petitions: 15 calendar days (current) – $2,500
  • Form I-1530 Change/Extension of Status to F, J or M: 30 days – not more than $1750
  • Form I-539 Change/Extension of Status for E, H, L, O, P and R Dependents: 30 days – not more than $1750
  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization: 30 days – not more than $1750

 

The fee increase, and with it the expansion of premium processing availability to a greater number of applications, comes as USCIS seeks to address its current financial difficulties resulting from the pandemic. A judicial ruling barred the department’s plans to introduce blanket fee increases. Targeted increases focused on specific services or applications, as here with premium processing, are expected to follow in the coming months as USCIS looks to boost revenues.

US immigration advice

NNU Immigration are specialist US attorneys based in London. For advice on US visas or immigration, including guidance on policy and rule developments, please contact us.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Last updated: October  2020